Best Airline Approved Pet Carriers for Cabin: Quick Picks
- Prodigen Airline Pet Carrier [Most Affordable]. This ultra-affordable carrier includes four panels of mesh ventilation plus three zipper openings to give you easy access to your pooch. Includes pockets, luggage & shoulder strap, and an inner fleece pad.
- X-Zone Expandable Pet Carrier [Best Expandable]. This expandable carrier features tons of mesh ventilation and two expandable panels to give your pooch more room when needed. It also can collapse down to nothing for easy storage!
- Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 Carrier [Best With Wheels]. If you don’t want to carry your pooch with shoulder straps, this carrier features wheels to make moving around easy. Plus, it can convert into a car seat too!
- Sleepypod Air Dog Carrier [Best Quality]. Sleepypod’s carrier features luggage grade materials for top-notch durability. Fits dogs up to 17.5 lbs.
Today we’re covering the basics of air travel with your pet. In this post we’re detailing how to select an airline approved pet carrier for keeping under the seat in front of you, in the cabin of the airplane.
If you’re looking for info on checking your dog in the cargo hold of the plane, see our post on the best airline approved dog crates for cargo hold air travel.
Airline-Approved Pet Carrier Features: What to Look For
There are several variations of different airline approved pet carriers to choose from. Some differentiating features include:
- Wheels. Some airline friendly carriers have wheels for easy maneuverability, while others function more as standard dog backpack carriers or pet purse carriers, with handles and shoulder straps. If you have a weak shoulder, you may want to opt for wheels over traditional over-the-shoulder style carriers.
- Zipper or Velcro. Some carriers have velcro closings, while others use zippers. Velcro can be opened potentially by boisterous pets, but provides faster access. Zippers are more secure, but can be a nuisance.
- Ventilation. You’ll want to make sure that your airline approved pet carrier has plenty of ventilation for your dog to breath and feel comfortable.
- Pockets. Pockets are always handy to have on your pet carry on bag. Pockets allow for easy storage of toys, treats, and other supplies. Some airline pet carriers will have more pockets than others.
8 Best Airline-Approved Dog Carriers
We’re using extensive research and consumer data to bring you a review of the best airline approved dog carriers.
All of these carriers come highly rated, so you can’t really go wrong. With wheels, foldable extensions, mesh sides, and all manner of handles, you have plenty of great options to choose from!
Please note that there is no one official airline approved dog carrier, as carrier requirements vary between airlines. However, all of these carriers have been used for air travel and should suit your needs.
Still, we suggest you always double check your specific airline carry-on dimensions with any carrier you consider ordering.
Looking for a carrier you can check in cargo during your flight? See our guide to airline approved dog crates for cargo hold.
1. X-Zone Airline-Approved Pet Carrier
About: The X-Zone Expandable Pet Carrier is stylish, reasonable-priced carry on dog carrier that can be expanded or retracted through the use of fold-out panels. It can even be collapsed completely for easy storage and transport.
X-Zone Airline-Approved Pet Carrier
Affordable airline-friendly carrier with dual expansion
Features ons of mesh ventilation and two expandable panels to give your pooch more room when needed.
- Foldable. When unzipped lies completely flat to save space, approximately the size of a laptop case.
- Expandable. Sides zips down to provide extra space while sturdy wire frame maintains shape.
- Zipper Opening. Pet entrance has 2 zippers for easy access and secure closure – perfect as an under seat dog carrier.
- Adjustable Shoulder Strap. Allows for comfortable carrying for you and your pet.
- Maximum Weight. The small carrier is suitable for companion pets up to 15 lbs, the large carrier 18 lbs.
- Small: 17″L x 11″W x 11″H (before expansion)
- Large: 19.7″L x 12″W x 12″H (before expansion)
This airline friendly pet carrier boasts an expandable “porch,” which gives pets extra room to move, lounge, or view the world. High quality, sturdy and well-built with soft, comfortable base pad.
A little hard to open the expandable section with pet inside.
2. Prodifen Airline Approved Pet Carrier
Prodifen Airline Approved Pet Carrier
Bag-style carrier that’s budget-friendly
Offers a 3 door design and four-sides of mesh paneling for plenty of airflow. Includes a luggage strap, which makes it easier to attached onto your suitcase.
About: The Prodigen Airline Approved Pet Carrier is a feature-packed carrier at an affordable price. We’re especially big fans of the four-sided mesh panels (ventilation is very important for airplane dog carrier), along with several zipper-opening panels.
- Airplane-Friendly Dimensions. Customers have confirmed that this carrier is accepted on most major airlines, including American Airline, United, JetBlue, Delta, & others!
- 3 Door Design. This carrier has three doors – a top zipper panel door, along with two side zipper panels, which makes it easy to slip a hand inside and comfort your dog when necessary.
- 4 Mesh Panels. Four sides of quality, claw-proof mesh panels for superior breathability and ventilation for your dog.
- Fleece Pad. Removable fleece mat on the inside bottom to keep your pup cozy. Can be easily removed and washes for cleaning.
- Pockets. Includes pockets for storing your pup’s treats, leash, etc.
- Inside Clip. There’s a small lead clip inside the carrier which keeps your pup safe and makes sure your dog won’t jump out when you open the carrier.
- Luggage Strap. Included luggage strap makes it easy to attach carrier onto your suitcase.
- Available in Several Colors. Comes in grey, blue, green, pink, or purple!
- One Size: 17.5″L x 10″W x 11″H
- Carrier Weight: 2.3 lbs
- Max Pet Weight: 14 lbs
This quality carrier has tons of mesh windows, which ensures the comfort and safety of your pup. Plus, the multiple entrances are convenient for comforting dogs who are nervous about flying.
Some reported issues with the carrier smelling like chemicals upon arrival, but most customers didn’t have an issue.
3. Bergan Soft-Sided Airline Pet Carrier
About: The Bergan Soft-Sided Airline Pet Carrier is a soft, duffle-bag style carrier that allows for discreet transportation of your canine as a carry-on.
It’s a mid-priced carrier, not the cheapest on our list, but not the most expensive either.
- Removable Fleece Bed. Soft fleece bedding and rigid insert panel helps the carrier hold its shape. Both removable for easy washing.
- Comfort Your Pet. Exclusive “Pet Connect” zipper opening allows you to comfortably and safely interact with your pet while traveling – an excellent choice for airline approved dog carriers for in cabin travel.
- Shoulder Strap. Optional shoulder strap included is padded and adjustable.
- Multiple Zipper Openings. Several zippered mesh panels allow for maximum viewing and ventilation.
- Multiple Safety Features. This airplane pet carrier has locking zippers, seatbelt loops, and reflective strips.
- Lead & Phthalate Safe. There are no harmful chemicals for you or your pet.
- Comes in 3 Size Options. Small (perfect for kittens, puppies, and teacup breeds up to 7 lbs), Large (external measurements – 16x8x10in for pets up to 22 lbs) and Large with Wheels (features patented pull strap that instantly converts to shoulder strap, wheels are detachable).
- Multiple Colors. This airplane friendly dog carrier comes in Black, Mineral Blue, Rose Wine, and Spinach Green.
- Small: 14″ X 6″ X 8″
- Large: 19″ x 10″ x 13″
Good quality. This carrier’s wheels and straps are easy to use and comfortable, with extra side pockets for leash, treats, or other items. This airplane pet carrier also has some nice color choices. Overall a great dog carry on bag with wheels.
A few owners felt that this carrier runs a little small. Additionally, a few mentioned that it didn’t smell great at first. So, you may want to let it sit outside in the breeze for a day or two before using it with your pooch.
4. Sleepypod Dog Carrier
Sleepypod Dog Carrier
High-end carrier with sleek design
All-in-one carrier that can function as an airline carry-on carrier, a car seat, and a dog bed. Features luggage-grade materials for maximum durability.
About: The Sleepypod Under Seat Dog Carrier is the whole package – it functions as a airline carry-on carrier, a car seat, and a dog bed!
- Flexible Size. The Sleepypod airline approved pet carrier fits pets up to 17 ½ lbs, but is also compressible to fit under different size seats on airlines or fold up when not in use.
- Sleek Design. Very well designed, giving pets maximum room without sacrificing sturdiness or style.
- Luggage Grade Fabric. High quality nylon outside with super comfy plush inside for a class A airline approved dog carrier.
- Easy Access. Both the top and ends open, making it easy to access pets.
- Multiple Colors. Comes in Dark Chocolate, Glacier Silver, Jet Black, Orange Dream, Strawberry Red, and Robin Egg Blue.
- Size. Available in size Medium which measures 22×10.5×10.5in.
- Single Size: 22″ x 10.5″ x 10.5″
Extremely high quality and sturdy, easy to attach to luggage carriers, sleek design, and a comfortable interior.
More expensive than other airplane pet carriers, plus somewhat bulkier.
5. AmazonBasics Soft Travel Carrier
AmazonBasics Soft Travel Carrier
Budget-friendly, carrier with all mesh sides
Affordable carrier with abundant mesh windows, providing extra ventilation. Suitable for travel on most domestic planes.
About: The AmazonBasics Airline Dog Carrier is an airy, affordable, duffle-style carry-on carrier with abundant mesh windows, providing extra ventilation for your pooch.
- Airline Approved Cabin Pet Carrier. Suitable for travel on most major domestic airlines.
- Flexible Frame. Springy wire frame with soft-sided carrier material flexes to fit under various seat dimensions.
- Straps. Includes both seatbelt and luggage strap for easy carrying and safe travel.
- Easy Entry. Contains both top and side entry panels as well as full mesh panels for ventilation.
- Sizes. Small (for pets up to 8 lbs), Medium (for pets up to 16 lbs), and Large (for pets up to 22 lbs).
- Small: 15″ X 10″ X 8.5″ / for pets up to 8 lbs
- Medium: 18″ x 11″ x 10.5″ / for pets up to 16 lbs
- Large: 19″ x 11.8″ x 11.5″ / for pets up to 22 lbs
A well-ventilated, flight approved pet carrier. It boasts roomier size and a comfortable fleece pad.
Can be heavy on your shoulders if you have a bigger pet, and can also be a tight fit on some airlines.
6. Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 Pet Carrier
Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 Pet Carrier
Rolling pet carrier with wheels
Features wheels and telescoping handle for easy maneuvering. Great for those who don’t want an over-the-shoulder style carrier.
About: The Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 Pet Carrier is a rolling bag styled carrier that is ideal for those who’d rather not lug around their pup over their shoulder the entire trip, opting instead for the convenience of rolling wheels.
It’s a pricey carrier – especially compared to some others on this list, but for owners who want wheels, it’s worth the hefty price tag.
- Large Mesh Panels. 3 sides of mesh panels for viewing and ventilation with easy zipper access.
- Folds Flat. Folds down for easy storage or transport when not in use.
- Multiple Options. Can be worn as a backpack, rolled on the ground, lain flat, or stands on its own with pet inside.
- Telescoping Handle. Provides multi-stage telescoping handle and wheels for easy maneuvering.
- Pockets. 2 side storage pockets for leash, treats, bowls, or food.
- Sizes. Medium (for pets up to 9 lbs) or Large (for pets up to 10 lbs).
- 2 Color Choices. This airline approved pet carrier comes in two color options – Red/Black or Khaki/Navy.
- One Size: 15″ X 13″ X 9″ / for pets up to 15 lbs
Nice for pets that like to sit upright and view the world. The rolling wheels is another very handy feature for this airline approved dog carrier.
Plastic construction sometimes unstable, with some buyers reporting broken parts. Hard base must be removed for it to fit under seats.
7. Sturdibag Airplane-Friendly Dog Carrier
About: The Sturdibag Large Airplane-Friendly Carrier is another duffle-style carrier with multiple doors, straps, and windows for your canine’s comfort during flight.
- Lightweight. Made of very lightweight durable 600 denier polyester with flexible rods that help maintain arch shape.
- Comfortable Straps. Easy to carry with an adjustable 4-point padded shoulder strap and leather hand grips.
- Multiple Mesh Panels. Several mesh windows for viewing and ventilation that can be covered as well for privacy or comfort for your pet.
- Safety Straps. Perfect to strap in airline seats or for car seat belts.
- Huge Color Selection. This dog carry on bag comes in 11 color options including hot pink, lavender, evergreen, and more!
- One Size: 10″ X 10″ X 18″
Lightweight, roomy interior. Also has a flexible size and shape for different sized airline requirements. Another fun bonus is the wide variety of colors this airplane dog carrier provides.
Only one entrance/exit can be a bit of a hassle.
8. Teafco Argo Airplane Pet Carrier
Teafco Argo Airplane Pet Carrier
Brightly-colored trendy pet carrier
This under seat airline dog carrier is made with rugged 840 denier nylon and features dual mesh windows on all sides.
About: The Teafco Argo Airline Approved Dog Carrier is a stylish carrier with durable fabric and surrounding dual mesh windows for your dog’s comfort.
- Rugged Construction. Made from quality 840 denier nylon fabric.
- Mesh Windows. Dual mesh panels on all sides for ventilation, viewing, and pet comfort.
- Convenient Size. Ideal for small dogs and cats.
- Water resistant. Sturdy construction and fabric protects your pet and repels water.
- Adjustable Straps. Shoulder strap is adjustable and removable for easy access to top zipper.
- Multiple Colors. This airline approved dog carrier comes in kiwi green, berry blue, and tango orange.
- Two Sizes. The small is suitable for puppies, kittens, or toy breeds. The large is better for small pets.
- Small: 18.5″ X 8.5″ X 10.5″
- Large: 20″ x 10″ x 9.2″
This under seat airline dog carrier uses high quality, durable fabric, with sturdy mesh windows.
Some say this carrier is not breathable enough. It’s also on the expensive side – quite a bit more than most other carriers.
Airline Pet Policy Sizing Requirements + Pricing Details
UNITED AIRLINES PET POLICY
For Hard-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions for hard-sided kennels are 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high.
For Soft-Sided Crates: Maximum dimensions for soft-sided kennels are 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm).
Pricing: $125 each way, plus an addition $125 for each stopover of 4 hours or more within the U.S. or stopovers of more than 24 hours outside of the U.S.
Other Details: Pets must be 4 months (16 weeks) or older to fly on United. Pets are not permitted on flights to/from or through Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand.
Note: Soft-sided pet carriers are allowed to slightly exceed recommended since they are adjustable and be conformed to under-seat space.
For more info, see the United pets travel page.
AMERICAN AIRLINES PET POLICY
For Hard-Sided Crates: Cannot exceed the under seat dimensions of the aircraft – you must find the under-seat dimensions for the aircraft you will be flying with.
For Soft-Sided Crates: Can be slightly larger than hard-sided kennels if they are made of water-repellant material, are padded, or have nylon mesh ventilation on 2 or more sides.
Pricing: $125 per kennel
Other Details: Pets must be 4 months (16 weeks) or older to fly on American Airlines within the US. The exception is flying from or to Puerto Rico, in which case pets must be 8 weeks or older.
Carry-on dogs are not permitted in business class or first class due to lack of under-seat storage. They are also not permitted on these aircrafts:
- Boeing 757-L
- Boeing 757-EW
- Boeing 767
- Boeing 777-200
- Boeing 777-300
- Boeing 787-8
- Boeing 787-9
- Airbus A330-200
- Airbus A330-300
International Flights: While pets are allowed on most flights up to 11 hours and 31 minutes, no carry-on pets are permitted when traveling to:
- Parts of the Caribbean (Barbados, Jamaica)
- Parts of South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela)
- Transatlantic flights
- Transpacific flights
- Australia (service or assistance pets only – no information available on carry on vs cargo)
There are also additional rules for certain regions:
- Mexico: Required to meet government regulations on vaccinations
For more info, see the American Airlines pets travel page.
ALASKA AIRLINES PET POLICY
For Hard-Sided Crates: Maximum hard-sided carry on crate dimensions cannot exceed 17″ x 11″ x 7.5″.
For Soft-Sided Crates: Maximum soft-sided crate dimensions cannot exceed 17″ x 11″ x 9.5″.
Pricing: $100 each way
Additional Info: Option to bring two pets in the main cabin, when adjacent seat is purchased by the same customer. The pet counts as your carry-on allotment – this means you can bring your pet + a personal item, but not a pet + personal item + standard size carry on bag.
Allows option for two pets of same species and similar size may travel in a single carrier.
Airbus aircrafts do not allow pets to be kept in first class seating.
For travel to:
- Hawaii: Dogs or cats may be permitted, but since Hawaii is the only rabies-free state, there are additional rules about traveling to Hawaii with pets in Alaska Airlines (details here)
- Nome, Kotzebue: Must have proof of parvovirus and rabies vaccination
For more info, see the Alaska Airlines pet travel page
Sizing Info: Maximum dimensions depend on your flight and the size of the aircraft – you’ll need to contact the reservations desk for exact info.
Pricing: $125 each way (US, Canada, Puerto Rico) / $200 (Virgin Islands, International) / $75 (Brazil).
Delta has recently stopped allowing pets to travel as checked baggage, but they’ve started offering another travel option for pets, called the CarePod.
The CarePod is a specially designed, triple-locking, GPS-equipped crate that comes with a lot of pooch-friendly features. Flying in the CarePod isn’t cheap (it costs approximately $850 one way), but it may be a good option for some owners.
Additional Info: Your pet counts as your personal item. Pets must be 10 weeks old for domestic travel, 16 weeks old if traveling to other countries.
With Delta, pets are not allowed to travel in cabin to/from the following destinations:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United Arab Emirates
Pets are also not allowed in certain sections of Delta flights:
- Rows 30-35 in A330-200 aircrafts
- Rows 30-43 in A330 -300 aircrafts
- Center seats in 757-200 aircrafts
For more info, see the Delta pets travel page.
Editor’s Note: Delta has recently changed many of their procedures and regulations for owners traveling with pets. For example, they no longer allow pets to fly as cargo on any flights on the Boeing 767, nor are pets allowed to fly in-cabin in the international business section.
Maximum Dimensions: Maximum carry-on carrier dimensions cannot exceed 17″L x 12.5″W x 8.5″H and the combined weight of pet + carrier can’t be over 20 lbs.
Pricing: $120 each way, only one pet per passenger is permitted
Pets are not permitted as carry-on for flights to/from: Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia, the Cayman Islands, or Trinidad & Tobago.
For more info, see the JetBlue pets travel page.
Maximum Dimensions: Maximum dimensions for carry on crates are 18.5” long x 8.5” high x 13.5” wide.
Pricing: $95 each way
Additional Info: Cannot travel as carry on for international flights.
Allows option for two pets of same species and similar size may travel in a single carrier. Pet carriers qualify as either A. a personal item or B. a carry-on item. This means you can bring the pet carrier + a regular-sized carry on bag.
For more info, see the Southwest Airline pet travel page.
Important! NO PETS are permitted to fly in the cabin with Virgin Airlines. Only service dogs are permitted in-cabin, all others must go in cargo.
Maximum Dimensions: Insubstantial information online – contact airline for details.
Pricing: Cost varies on destination, time of year, and size of carrier. Contact airline carrier for more info.
For more info, see the Virgin Airlines pet travel page.
Maximum Dimensions: 9”H x 16”W x 19”D
Pricing: $100 per segment per carrier
Additional Info: No more than 2 pets per carrier are permitted. Each paid traveler may have one carrier each. Cats and dogs only.
For more info, see the Allegiant Airline pet travel page.
Maximum Dimensions: 18″ length x 14″ width x 8″ height
Pricing: $75 each way
Additional Info: Pets only travel in cabin, no cargo hold options. Pets are allowed on international flights to/from the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
For more info, see the Frontier Airlines pet travel page.
Maximum Dimensions: 18 x 14 x 9 inches, and must be able to fit under the seat. Combined weight of the pet and carrier may not exceed 40 lbs.
Pricing: No information available
Additional Info: 2 pets per container is permitted. Not pets allowed on international flights.
For more info, see the Spirit Airlines pet travel page.
Other Airline & Flight Details to Consider When Traveling With Pets
- Most airlines require that dogs be able to stand up and lie down comfortably in their carry-on travel carrier.
- Crates must be in good condition and without cracks, breaks, or tears. Airlines may reject carrier if it is not in good condition.
- Each flight can only allow a certain number of carry-on pets per flight. Often, this number is quite small (often just 1-2 for first and business class seating, and 4-5 for cabin seating). Because of this, it’s important to book your flight as soon as possible.
- Pets must stay in carrier for the entire duration of the flight.
- When taking a pet as a carry-on, you may not sit in the exit row or any row where under-seat space is not available in front of you.
- Most airlines do not allow the transportation of snub-nosed dogs. If you need to get a snub-nosed dog from point A to point B, you may have to opt for a private pet transport service.
- Pets younger than 8 weeks not allowed to fly. Additional age restrictions may exist depending on airline.
- Pets cannot fly with unaccompanied minors.
- CDC requires that all pets coming to the US are immunized against rabies and must be completed 30 days before arrival.
- Some airlines allow multiple pets of same species and similar size in one carrier, while others do not.
- Crates must be leak-proof and ventilated on at least two sides.
- Carrier regulations and requirements may vary for a single airline depending on the aircraft and the flight destination.
Do you have any experiences with airline pet carriers you’d like to share? Tell us about your favorites and review your top picks in the comments section!
Want more ways to travel with your pooch? Check out our guide to dog bike baskets!